1969s ‘Scooby Doo! Where Are You?’ is a television animation milestone. Many children around the world watched the Hannah Barbara show over the years, mostly through syndication, and as a result it had constantly gained new generations of fans. It's impact on pop culture was vast too, from its oft-quoted, "I would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for you pesky kids" to "It's old man xyz" to popularising the chasing through different doors sequence, you know the one; the chaser is pursuing the chasee(s) as they enter through one door only to emerge from a different or opposite door.
The show was hot stuff and it was doing well but over the years it lost its lustre and when ‘A Pup Named Scooby Doo’, released in 1991, was not well received it looked like the end of Scooby Doo. Due to the popularity and relative cheapness of shows like ‘Power Rangers’, ‘Saved By the Bell’ and its live action ilk there was a lull in television animation in the mid to late 90s and Scooby Doo looked like it was going to join the limbo of syndicated satellite cartoon show for all posterity.
However, in 1998 the straight to VHS Scooby Doo on Zombie Island animated movie released and helped to revive the series, winning over a whole new legion of fans and reviving interest in the characters that has continued to this day.
Zombie Island is a bona-fide great story for our Mystery Incorporated team. Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma, and Daphne reunite after a short time apart to investigate a bayou island said to be haunted by the ghost of the pirate Morgan Moonscar. However, the five find not only a deeper mystery on the island, but their first encounter with a genuine, deadly supernatural threat.
The film is beautifully animated with an anime art style, the characters remain true to their origin form but have been finessed to look slicker and cooler than the Hannah Barbara cheaper animation. The background art is stunning and adds to the creepy bayou atmosphere. The ghosts, zombies and cat creatures are all creepy and genuinely a bit unsettling, I'm not sure my 3 3/4 year old daughter would be able to handle the scares... and there are scares aplenty in this film.
The voice cast are excellent throughout and there is subtlety in their performances, it does keep you guessing as to who the true villain is, and unlike all other previous Scooby Doo episodes, there are REAL supernatural elements which is a real game changer in their animated world. The poptastic soundtrack is also pretty awesome and adds some levity to proceedings.
I love that Scooby Doo never really goes away, much like Alvin and the Chipmunks, every generation has their own Scooby that they love. I recently watched the entire 52 part Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated and loved it, calling it one of the best animated shows I’d ever seen, and I love that each person has their own opinion about the best Scooby Doo! Check this movie out though, it’s awesome!